BY JORGE BONILLA
Mayor Buddy Dyer (D-Orlando) has withdrawn from Florida’s 2014 gubernatorial election, further thinning the primary field and potentially clearing the decks for Charlie Crist’s return to Florida electoral politics. Or does it?
Per the Orlando Sentinel:
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer used his “State of the City” address on Wednesday to push the strong public building campaign that has marked his 10 years in office and to say he won’t leave that work unfinished.
Dyer also said he will not run for governor next year against Rick Scott, ending speculation about his immediate political future.
“I believe that I have a responsibility to the people of Orlando to finish what we started,” Dyer said to a standing-room crowd of community leaders gathered at City Hall for his annual speech. “The next few years are going to be critical in terms of Orlando’s economic recovery and our efforts to create the jobs of the future.”
Blah, blah, blah. For all the “much left undone” boilerplate, Dyer had to consider whether he’d have enough to compete in a potentially wide-open Democrat primary and face well-funded Gov. Rick Scott in what is a monstrously expensive state to run in. In the end, the risks outweighed the potential rewards, and Dyer decided to stay in Orlando.
But is Dyer’s move enough to clear the decks for Charlie Crist, though? Not so fast, says Politico. First, the lede:
A Democratic poll taken in Florida earlier this month raises questions about former Gov. Charlie Crist’s strength as a 2014 challenger for Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
The survey, conducted by the firm Hamilton Campaigns and obtained by POLITICO, shows that Scott starts out his reelection fight tied with Crist and modestly ahead of other Democratic candidates. The poll was taken from Jan. 30 to Feb. 4, testing 600 registered voters.
The numbers are substantially better for Scott than much of the grim public polling that has been published since the governor took office. They represent a reminder for Democrats that they can’t simply take for granted that they’ll win a race against an incumbent governor with unlimited financial resources – especially if they run a candidate with widely known, and potentially serious, vulnerabilities.
In other words, Washington conventional wisdom appears to have caught up to the sentiment of local Democrats with regard to El Charlatán, which is to say, he can’t be trusted. Whoever finally emerges to challenge Scott is going to count on a lot of local and national support, as well as some iteration of the OFA leviathan, hence a natural reluctance to hand the keys over to someone with a Titanic’s worth of baggage.
Grab your popcorn.